Learning a new language is hard enough, but challenging yourself to write articles and academic papers in your second or third language is a much more weighty task. Since a lot of our writers are bilingual, I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves struggling with words sometimes. So, for our incoming 25 September class and other students interested in writing for HCICU but are muddled with whether or not they would be able to keep up, I reached out to two of my ELA professors Mr. Simon Evans and Alex Oke, and asked them how they think writing at HCICU will be beneficial in the long run as well!
Before getting into the advice I got from them, I wanted to know what ELA teachers think of HCICU and whether they engage with the articles we write.
Interviewer: “Do ELA teachers read HCICU articles? And what do you think of the articles or HCICU in general?”
Mr. Evans: “Yes, a couple of the teachers do. Even though not a lot of teachers talk about HCICU, Her Campus is always on the agenda. Most of the teachers are male, so I guess, “HER” in HCICU sort of feels like a male audience might not be the demographic. But despite there being an unintentional gender bias, I know that there are quite a few teachers that read HCICU articles and recommend them to their ELA students as well”.
Alex: “Yes, we do. I definitely recommend it to all of my students, and I make sure to attach the HCICU link to the bottom of the class agenda. I recommend it to all my first-year students because professional writings are good examples and helpful for academic writing. I remember one of my students had issues concerning their body image, so I recommended that they read some of the articles from HCICU that seemed helpful. I also plan on using some of the articles on Black Lives Matters articles in my classes next semester”.
The name “Her Campus” unintentionally becomes restrictive, but at the ICU chapter, we like to refer to ourselves as “HCICU” over “Her Campus ICU” because we would like for everyone, regardless of what their gender is, to participate without hesitation. And as most of you might already know, the HCICU writers are extremely proactive about writing and sharing their thoughts and experiences about many social and gender issues.
Now, for the advice:
Interviewer: “Would you recommend ELA students to join HCICU to work on their writing skills?”
Mr. Evans: “Definitely, one-hundred percent because when you’re writing, you are thinking, and that is a great way to develop your thinking and critical analysis skills. When you are writing, you try to appeal to your audience, which helps develop persuasive writing and speaking skills. Especially when you are writing articles, you try to say something interesting that can lure the audience. Moreover, it looks great on a transcript”.
Alex: “It’s quite simple: good writing is good writing. No matter where or what type of writing style you choose, writing to compete or writing to be heard, you are getting better every time”.
Many of the writers at HCICU, irrespective of their language skills, were intimidated by the thought that they would have to pen down something for the world to see. But now, we see so many great articles and growth in the level of writing from every writer.
Interviewer: “Will the writing style in HCICU help ELA students to improve their academic writing as well?”
Mr. Evans: “Indirectly, yes. Article-style writing helps people realize that academic writing is very different with their purposes and styles. I think that a lot of the students are only doing academic writing, so they can’t think of other writing styles. Writing articles at HCICU will make the students more aware of what academic writing is and what it is not – cognitive awareness. For example, in my classes, I make the students do ’30-minute writing’, something that is very close to brainstorming for articles. Just by spilling out ideas on paper, students’ thinking are developed for better writing”.
Alex: “Academic writing can be dry and structural. HCICU has a more journalistic style and shows more perspective. It will definitely improve a person as a writer. And the more you write, the better you’ll become. You will come up with more ways to persuade your readers. Besides, basic academic writing is present even in HCICU articles. You can improve by working on both styles of writing”.
The writing team has many members from every ELA stream, and most of us are still learning about our writing. Drawing up an article with just our words is an exercise in itself, but when the editing teams fix up our articles before publication, there is a whole lot of new writing styles and phrases that writers can learn. Once writers are used to writing and fixing their short articles here at HCICU, that habit eventually trickles into academic writing as well!
Interviewer: “How do you think this writing/editing experience will help students in the future?”
Mr. Evans: “Writing about topics/ideas that interest you will help you think about your future when you are unsure of your future plans. It’s also a great work experience because it creates a habit of meeting deadlines and gets you a sense of work culture. This type of discipline will further develop your thinking and creative skills”.
Alex: “Writing in college magazines is a pretty big thing. With the amount of responsibility and experience, you are at a great advantage. Not only will this help you with further studies and work, but this will also help you become more responsible and organized. Being on the writing and editing team will be very helpful for the future in many ways”.
The HCICU writing team does not micro-manage, and most of the deadlines and workload are pretty much self-dependent! We do require the writers to turn in the articles a week before publication, so if you can keep up those, you will pretty much stay on top of your game!
Interviewer: “Are there any topics that you’d like for HCICU writers to explore?”
Mr. Evans: “I would like to see article themes like ‘a day in the life of…famous people/yourself?’ or a profile of teachers and different people at the university where the articles explore why they are here? What are the difficulties they face in their daily lives? Perhaps even a monthly update. I think they would make some popular articles!”
Alex: “I usually read HCICU articles with my daughter, and honestly, I can not imagine something you guys have not written. HCICU covers from the serious to the silly!”
We are super excited for more members to join HCICU and we hope that getting perspective from professors encourages you to challenge yourself!